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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  June 12, 2011 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT

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what's your sentence? good luck, good-bye. that's it. that's life in here. life ended. this sunday, the politics of a sluggish economic recovery. how vulnerable is the president? >> i'm not concerned about a double-dip recession. i am concerned about the fact that the recovery we're on is not producing jobs as quickly as i want it to happen. >> are his economic policies adrift, giving the gop its best opening? >> we've tried it president obama's way, and it's only made the economy worse. plus, the anthony weiner scandal, a public spectacle distracting democrats from important business. how long can he resist calls to
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step down after top party officials demand his resignation? this morning, an exclusive debate between the leaders of the two major political parties. democratic national committee chair debbie wasserman schultz and republican national committee chair reince priebus. then, our "meet the candidates" series continues with a man hoping to make a political comeback after serving 4 years in the house and 12 in the senate, former pennsylvania senator rick santorum. >> i'm running for president of the united states of america. join the fight! join the fight! >> what role will he play in a crowded gop field? finally, our "political roundtable" on where the gop field now stands just days before candidates meet for their second debate. has gingrich's campaign imploded after key advisers jumped ship? could texas governor rick perry be positioning himself for a run? and will the race turn on the economy or the country's changing demographics? with us, democratic mayor of atlanta, kasim reed, republican
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strategist and "time" magazine columnist mike murphy, author of the book "revival 2.0: how the obama white house is making its political comeback," richard wolffe, and columnist for the "wall street journal," kim strassel. good morning. new developments this weekend concerning congressman anthony weiner after new online communications were revealed between him and a 17-year-old girl in delaware. his staff claiming, however, the contents were not explicit or indecent, but that news appeared to accelerate pressure from top democrats for him to resign. ignoring that pressure this weekend, the congressman issued a statement yesterday afternoon via his congressional office saying in part the following -- "congressman weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person. in light of that, he will request a short leave of absence
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from the house of representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well. congressman weiner takes the views of his colleagues very seriously and has determined that he needs this time to get healthy and make the best decision possible for himself, his family and his constituents." among those calling for his resignation, the chair of the democratic national committee, debbie wasserman schultz. she, along with her counterpart, the chairman of the rnc, reince priebus, joins us here exclusively this morning for their first joint television appearance. welcome to both of you. >> thank you. >> good morning, david. >> congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, let me start with you. >> sure. >> what led to the change? why now call for him to resign? >> well, i think that since this story broke, we were giving congressman weiner some breathing room to be able to be circumspect, do the right thing, make a decision, reach the conclusion that he needed to step back and step down on his own, and as of yesterday when that didn't happen, it was important to weigh in.
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>> but before his actual admission, you spoke about this during an interview, and this is what you said. >> anthony weiner is dealing with a personal matter and it should be left as a personal matter. >> when did it become less a personal matter and more an issue of public trust? >> well, i made that statement before it had been revealed that an though thy anthony had not been truthful and that he was engaged in the conduct that he had been denying at the time. and once he crossed that threshold, acknowledged that he had been lying, had engaged in conduct that is, you know, completely unacceptable and indefensible, that's where i thought the line was crossed. >> but is this enough that he seeks treatment or would you still like him to straight out resign? >> the statement i made speaks for itself yesterday. i think anthony weiner needs to resign so he can focus on his family, focus on his own wellbeing and make sure -- >> so there's going to be more pressure from top democrats to say this is not enough, leave of absence is not enough. he should step down completely. >> i think leader pelosi, steve
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israel, myself, we all came together yesterday -- >> what can you do? he's obviously not listening to the admonitions of his colleagues. >> at the end of the day, a member of congress makes his own decision, and that's certainly going to be up to anthony weiner, but we have made it clear that he needs to resign, he needs to focus on getting his own personal issues in order, focus on his family and do the right thing -- >> from your -- >> -- by his constituents. >> you talk about constituents. reince priebus, look at the polling done this week, the marist poll, looking at the constituents and the majority say he should remain in office, 56%. what do you say? >> david, here's the problem, this is a question of leadership. it always was a question of leadership. anthony weiner was lying from the very beginning. he turned this town and country into a three-ring circus. what we called for was for nancy pelosi and the democratic leaders in this country to do what every american knew had to be done immediately and call for his resignation. it seemed to me that for the first ten days in the circus,
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the only job nancy pelosi was interested in saving was anthony weiner's. we've got crushing unemployment in this country, we've got a president that's whistling past the graveyard, we've got families that are struggling, and instead, we've got leadership and a democratic party that are defending a guy that deserves no defense! >> is it a difficult place for the party leadership to be that you call for resignation, he doesn't listen? i mean, does it say something about the leadership? >> what reince is saying doesn't pass the straight face test from a chair of a party who none of its leaders called for senator vitter, who actually broke the law to resign, who is still serving office. >> hired prostitutes. >> hired prostitutes and evaded the truth. chairman priebus was chairman when senator ensign was also embroiled in unethical, unacceptable, and probably illegal conduct, and he did not call for senator ensign to
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resign -- >> senator ensign resigned -- >> but you never called for his resignation, so it's a double standard. and that is unacceptable. >> here's a question. this is unseemly to a lot of people -- >> so, you only call for democrats' resignation, but not for republicans', okay. >> senator vitter, nobody called for him to resign, it was brought up. where is the line? >> listen, senator vitter, that's a five-year-old story. chris lee? how long did he last? about 30 seconds. senator ensign resigned within six weeks of me becoming chairman. look, i'm not defending these guys, but the fact of the matter is, we have big issues here to tackle in this country. we have unemployment that rivals the great depression. we have gas prices that are out of this world. we have crushing debt. we know what's happening to this economy. and here's the problem. it's not so much, as much as "the economy, stupid," as people say, it's, "the policy, stupid," too, and the president's policies in regards to saving this country, getting our
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economy back on track, are not working. >> we'll get to those. final question on weiner. have you spoken to him in person? >> i did speak to him the other day. >> what's his state of mind? what's he thinking? >> he's incredibly apologetic, devastated that this is conduct that he has been engaged in, and i think that -- >> but it sounds like he's stubborn, too. >> well, i didn't speak to him very long. i just know that he's remorseful. i just hope that anthony goes and gets the help he needs and that he does the right thing, and like leader pelosi said yesterday, removes himself from office so he can focus on the important things that he needs to do for his family. let me just add, though, david, that it is so disingenuous for reince to be saying that jobs are their priority. i mean, we've got a party who have been in charge of the house of representatives for the last six months, hasn't brought a single jobs bill to the floor, so -- >> let's talk more about the economy in some more detail. this is the president's standing in terms of handling the economy in the public's eye, and it's
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pretty negative right now. 60%, almost, 59% disapprove of the president's handling of the economy. and there are facts that back that up that are difficult for this administration and for the democrats. unemployment's up 25% since inauguration day for president obama. the debt's up 35%, over $14 trillion. a gallon of gas up over 100% with gas $3.75, higher than that in certain parts of the country. why should americans trust democratic governance right now on the economy, and particularly, the president's? >> because we were able to, under president obama's leadership, turn this economy around. when president obama took office -- >> whoa, whoa, let me just stop you there. clearly, the economy has not been turned around, you just saw the numbers -- >> it certainly has -- >> americans don't believe that's the case. >> well, when president obama took office, the month before he was inaugurated, the economy was bleeding 750,000 jobs a month, david, and we were not headed in the right direction. now, i know, and president obama has said, we have a long way to go, we'd like the pace of recovery to be picked up, but we
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have definitely begun to turn the economy around. you fast-forward 2 1/2 years later now, and the economy has created 2.1 million private sector jobs, a million of those jobs just in the last six months. we've had 15 straight months of job growth and -- >> nobody believes that the pace of job creation is anything close to robust enough to lead to economic growth, even to match the economic growth projections that this administration has made. i want to get chairman priebus on this. >> david, the chairwoman's living in fantasy land. we know that the facts are the facts and we can't get away from that, and barack obama's defenseless to the truth on what's going on in the american economy. we have lost 2.5 million jobs since barack obama's been president, and of that 2.5 million jobs, almost 45% of those people have been out of work for six months. that number -- that number rivals the great depression. >> and yet -- >> this president has been a disaster to this economy, and that's why when you ask americans whether or not they're
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better off today than they were three or four years ago, they say no. when you ask americans, has this president followed through on his promises to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, as he's promised, the answer is no. the debt is out of control. he's on pace to accumulate more debt on his watch than every single president before him combined. >> let me ask you this, as top republican in the party. is there something that republicans who control the house can do to accelerate job creation now, through tax policies, through other kinds of policies, besides just looking at the question of whether you're better off now than four years ago? >> well, certainly. i think for one thing, we're all in agreement that we have a debt crisis in this country. we're all in agreement that we can't keep spending -- >> i'm asking for a specific policy. >> i think we need to cut taxes on small businesses. we need to spur the growth
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there. >> that's good, because we've done that, 17 times. >> i think we need to get the president from stopping -- from whistling past the graveyard and introduce a budget -- >> okay, hang on a second -- >> -- of which they haven't done in 700 days! >> congresswoman, the issue of taxes, is there a specific tax policy, tax cuts, for example, that the democrats would be open to, to specifically target job creation in the shorter term? >> absolutely. beyond the 17 tax cuts -- if the chairman had actually been paying attention in the last two years -- the 17 different tax cuts that president obama proposed and the democratic congress passed to support small businesses, including a cut in the capital gains tax. the compromise that we reached during a lame duck congress that made sure that we can give a payroll tax deduction to americans making about $50,000 a year. excuse me. we focused on striking a balance between making the investments that we needed to make to be able to jump-start the economy again and get it moving back in the right direction and also ensuring that we could reduce spending in the tax code, so that we could give incentives to
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businesses to be able to create jobs and be able to make investments in their own businesses again. that's been done and more needs to be done and we need to come together -- >> so much so that we've lost 2.5 million jobs -- >> we need to do that -- and added a million in the last six months. we need to do that by coming together, david. what republicans refuse to do is sit down around the table with democrats to forge a reasonable approach and a compromise to get our economy even more high gear. >> let me move on to the political landscape questions. republicans will meet tomorrow in new hampshire, an important debate. mitt romney will be part of it. as you look at landscape right now, are the republicans who will be on that stage, is one of those ultimately the nominee? >> well, i'm not sure if one of them is ultimately the nominee, but certainly, some of them can be the nominee, depending on who gets in. i think that, obviously, this president is going to have a tough road to hoe. i mean, he's got these deficits that we've talked about. the chairwoman's spoken about the fact that she is somehow espousing these great tax
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policies they've put forward, but we've lost 2.5 million jobs during his presidency. >> let's stick to the field. mitt romney is in a dead heat, according to "the washington post" nbc news poll. chairwoman, dead heat with mitt romney. that's got to be about the economy and the president's vulnerability on the economy, no? >> well, mitt romney's pretty vuler inableer in vulnerable on the economy as well. when he was governor, he was literally 47th in job creation. for someone who touts his own ability to create jobs, we're talking about somebody that never created and recovered the amount of jobs lost in massachusetts from the 2001 recession when he was governor. his -- >> do you see him as a front-runner for the republicans? >> i see that there is a collection of very flawed candidates on the other side of the aisle. we are concentrating on making sure that we can continue to
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boost this recovery. we want the republicans to join us. they have literally been absent from that process. >> let's talk about the map. it's interesting. if you look at the states president obama won in 2008, these were also states that president bush won in 2004, so it's very interesting. from the rocky mountain west to the midwest, where the president can be most vulnerable on the economy, then virginia, north carolina, southern states and all-important florida. chairman priebus, how do republicans get those states back? then the question for you, congresswoman, is how does the president defend those states? >> well, i mean, i think the folks in those states have the same concerns that people across the country have with regard to this economy. i really think that it's speaking to the issues of the economy, it's talking about how this president's performed, whether the rhetoric matches the actual performance. i think that the victories that we've had in 2010 are going to be a big help in winning a lot of these states. i come from wisconsin. obviously, we've had republican governors across the country. we've got party activists that have built up around the country. but at the end of the day, this is going to come down to whether or not people believe that they're better off today than they were three or four years ago, and they're going to say
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no. >> there's a demographic -- the economy is what gives them a glass jaw, the president, but the demographics, increasing hispanic participation in elections and population around the country may help. >> that's going to be incredibly important, but we've already gotten the glimpse. the 2010 elections, that's a nice thing to hang your hat on. look at the most recent elections. we just won the democratic candidate for mayor in jacksonville, florida, just won a special election a couple weeks ago. first time we've had a democratic mayor in jacksonville, florida, in 20 years. we won a state house race in new hampshire, a tiny, ruby red state house race where the right-wing policies of the new hampshire governor -- of the new hampshire legislature were on display and the voters reacted and rejected that. we just elected in new york 26 a red, red congressional district in a special election because the republicans want to end medicare as we know it. voters rejected that so, the most recent opportunity for voters to weigh in on the republicans' policies have resulted in democratic
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victories. >> quickly -- >> we're just about out of time, but i want to ask congresswoman wasserman schultz about gabby giffords. new pictures today and she looks terrific. >> doesn't she? >> of course, having been shot in the head earlier this year. one of your closest friends. what's going on? >> she is. i talked to her on the phone for the first time. we had a wonderful conversation. she spoke to me in full sentences, initiated those sentences instead of just responding, which is what she had really only been able to do recently, and she's making remarkable progress. we're so proud of her. she's working so hard. she's got a long way to go, but you can just see how beautiful she is, and we are longing and looking forward to her coming back to us. >> we'll leave it there. the debate on the issues will continue -- >> nice to be with you. >> thank you. >> thank you both for making your first appearance here. coming up, rick santorum made it official this week by throwing his hat into the ring for 2012. he says he's ready to lead, but does he have what it takes to break through an unsettled and crowded republican field?
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putting a lot of time in on the ground in iowa. this morning, the former pennsylvania governor is here in studio as we continue our "meet the candidates" series. one on one with rick santorum, coming up next. and later, will congressman weiner continue to be a distraction for democrats? our roundtable weighs in on the latest developments there and more particularly on the economy and its impact on the race for 2012 when we come back. rticulay and its impact on the race for 2012 when we come back. look, every day we're using more and more energy. the world needs more energy. where's it going to come from? ♪ that's why right here, in australia, chevron is building one of the biggest natural gas projects in the world. enough power for a city the size of singapore for 50 years. what's it going to do to the planet? natural gas is the cleanest conventional fuel there is.
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we are back continuing our "meet the candidates" series with republican presidential hopeful rick santorum. welcome back to "meet the press." >> thank you, david. good to be with you. >> good to have you. you announced this week in your home state of pennsylvania that you were running and this is a portion of what you said in your announcement. >> americans are not looking for someone that they can believe
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in. they're looking for a president who believes in them. >> as we know, elections are about choices, and i wonder exactly what you mean, talking about president obama there. do you believe that he does not believe in america, does not believe in the american way? >> i think if you look at his policies, they're all oriented towards centralizing more power in washington, d.c., taking freedom away from the american public, not believing that americans -- for example, let's just look at obamacare. he doesn't believe americans can actually make decisions for themselves, that he has to tell you how much money you're going to spend on health care, what plans that you're going to be qualified for. and i'm not talking about people who are poor, people who are seniors. i'm talking about working americans. he's going to tell working americans who are out there providing for themselves, paying for their health insurance, he's saying -- >> and they're better off with the freedom they've got and the vagaries of the private insurance market? >> do we need to make some changes in the health insurance markets, absolutely, but we need -- >> but you'd repeal the president's health care plan totally? >> absolutely. >> even covering pre-existing conditions, which most
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republicans agree with? >> we need a bottom-up system, we need to believe in people, believe in markets. what's happening under president obama, you're seeing it in his obamacare, what he's done with medicare. he put in this independent payment advisory board, 15-member board that's going to go into place right before the implementation of obamacare in 2014 that's going to put price controls and controls, top-down controls on medicare. we've never had that before. we've never had an independent board created by the government to put price controls on medicare. you hear the democrats saying we're going to push grandma off a cliff because of what paul ryan suggested on medicare. grandma's already headed down because barack obama's put a price control plan in place and it's top-down. what ryan and i support is giving seniors the choice to participate in economic decisions and make those decisions about access to care, quality of care by themselves. >> i want to talk a little more about medicare in a minute, but i want to ask about your announcement and place in the field. last time you were up for
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re-election, you were handily defeated by 17 points in your run for the senate. how do you think you've changed professionally and personally since that defeat, now that you're standing for president? >> well, a couple of things. first off, one of the things i learned from that race is that losing isn't the worst thing that can happen to you, that standing up -- not standing up for what you believe in and fighting for those things is the worst thing, and i think if i go back and look at my race, did i make mistakes? sure. but one of the things i think i was -- where i ended up on the short end of the stick is i was out there talking about social security reform in 2005 and 2006, when george bush says "charge" after the 2004 election, we've got to take on social security, jim demint and i ran to the floor of the united states senate and i did town meetings all over pennsylvania. i turned around and there wasn't anybody behind me, and i -- >> is that the problem now, by the way? look at what paul ryan's trying to do on medicare. do you worry about that? >> i do worry that -- >> you support his plan. you want to go further. you say even if you're over 55, it should change now. >> well, i do.
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we have a plan in place now, called medicare prescription drugs, which is identical to the ryan plan, the seniors like, and by the way, came in 41% under budget, so we know -- >> premiums have gone up under that program. >> of course premiums -- premiums are going to go up. they go up in the private sector, too, if you don't control cost. we need a more comprehensive plan where seniors and individuals are involved in controlling costs and you have government right now controlling well over 50% of medical care and they're not doing a good job controlling costs. >> on social security, would you raise the retirement age? >> i proposed that back in 1994. i think that's an option that has to be on the table. i think the one thing we should do is to deal with the cost of living increase. i ask a senior everywhere i go, iowa, new hampshire, i say what should the cost of living increase be tied to? and the answer is always, well, it should be tied to the prices that we pay for goods and services. well, it's not. the cost of living increase in social security is tied to wage inflation. why -- what does that have to do with the cost of living for seniors?
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it doesn't. and so what we need to do is change it from a wage inflation index to a price inflation index. if we do that, you solve anywhere from half to three-quarters of the shortfall in social security over time. so, that's one thing we can do. we can do it now. it will have minimal effect on anybody at or near retirement but long term it creates sustainability for young people who are sitting out there who don't believe social security's going to be there for them. >> what space do you occupy in this race? who are you? are you the true conservative? are you the truth-teller? who are you? >> i'm someone who's been out there for 16 years having the courage to lead on a variety of conservative issues when they weren't popular. i was leading on entitlement reform. i was the guy that wrote the contract with america welfare reform bill when welfare reform was seen as throwing grandma out on the street, and i was out there leading that charge and was successful in the united states senate to get 70 votes to end a federal entitlement. something we have to do in this city right here is to do
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something about entitlements. you have someone in the race who's taken it on and been successful. i've led on national security issues, particularly in the middle east. i had two major pieces of legislation where i actually fought president bush, eventually signed both, but he opposed both when i first proposed them, one on iran and one on syria. and i've also been a leader on moral cultural issues. you take any issue area, i've had the courage to go out on controversial issues and take leadership roles and i've been successful. >> let me ask you about being a christian conservative in the race. do you think that mitt romney, jon huntsman will have a problem in this race in the primary as mormons? >> i hope not. i hope that people look at the qualities of candidates and look at what they believe and look at what they're for, look at their records -- >> are they true conservatives, in your eyes? >> i think they have held positions in the past that have not been conservative and i think they have to account for those. >> and you think that, ultimately, that impacts their ability to beat president obama? >> i think what people are concerned about and what they saw in congresses in the past and presidents in the past who are republicans is that they say
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one thing -- they're real conservative when they run in the republican primaries, and when they govern, they don't govern as conservatively as they talked. what you can look for from me is i governed pennsylvania, a state with more democrats than republicans. yes, i lost the first race, but the next three races, i was faced up against democratic incumbents in two house districts and a senate race, and then in my fourth -- and i won all three. in my fourth race, president bush lost the state of pennsylvania by four points, i won it by five. i was the only conservative running in 2000 who won a state that bush lost. so, i think if you look at the record of when there were competitive years to run -- and 2006 was probably the worst year for republicans in pennsylvania in recent history -- if you look at those competitive years, i've been successful because i've been principled. people don't always agree with me, but they know where i stand and know i'll stand up for my convictions. >> let me talk about the debt and taxes. you said recently you've got to tell people the truth about what government can and cannot afford.
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but back in 2002, in a parallel situation to what we face now, you were on this program and this is what you said about deficits. >> i think we're going to be in for deficits for the next few years to come. we're in a recession, or just coming out of a recession. and secondly, we're going to be fighting a major war on terrorism, and potentially, a war in iraq. the last thing we need to do when we're concerned about the national security of this country is be concerned about deficits. >> we're coming out of a recession, we're fighting two wars. it's 2011. deficits didn't matter then, but now they're everything to republicans now. >> well, let's look at -- i think scale matters, david. i mean, we were -- prior to 2001, we were in a surplus. we were talking about deficit, i think at that point of $100 billion, not $1.5 trillion, not something that is grinding our economy down. also, you mentioned 2002. that was right after the attacks of 2011, and we were pretty much, you know, worried about the security of our country immediately as to whether we were going to be attacked again and trying to defeat the forces that just attacked us.
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so of course, when you're responding to an attack like that, you worry about stopping the enemy so they don't hit you again, and the context is important in that statement. >> so, deficits mattered even to you then? >> well, of course they did. i'm someone who's, again, fought to end entitlements, fought to cut spending. for years i was someone who introduced more original spending bills to cut the deficit than anybody else. i believe that we need to get our fiscal house in order. i have been a strong fiscal conservative throughout and i'll continue to be. >> why is it, if everything worked the way you and other conservatives would like it to -- you could cut taxes, you could do some of the things you would like to do for the economy -- why, then, even during boom times for the economy have you not seen much improvement, particularly for the middle class, wage-earners? >> yeah, i think one of the things that's been a missing ingredient -- and i come from pennsylvania, and i would say, you know, i come from pennsylvania. we still make things there. a manufacturing economy is really important, and i think we have not had a policy that's focused on trying to create those kinds of jobs. because i grew up in a steel town, butler, pennsylvania. and you know, i used to take the
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bus in to school and we'd go by the mills. and if you could smell the smoke, you thought people were working, that's a good thing. well, we don't want to smell the smoke anymore, but we want those people working, and we don't have policies, whether they're policies from a tax perspective to encourage manufacturing here, from an innovation from research and development, patents and things like that, improvements we need to make there. we have to also do some things on the regulatory side. what this president has done to regulate and drive manufacturing up, the nlrb and what they've done in south carolina to basically say to any company that is in a state that's not a right-to-work state, if you want to expand anywhere in the u.s. outside that state, you might as well go overseas. those are the kinds of policies that hurt our manufacturing base. i'm going to be putting forth a plan in the next few weeks that's going to focus on manufacturing. why? because that is where the great middle of america works and has this huge multiplier effect that takes the money from those who innovate and brings it down to those who work in those
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factories. >> quickly on taxes. you've got so many american corporations sitting on capital right now. do they need additional tax breaks? >> one of the things they need is they have about a trillion dollars sitting overseas right now that they don't bring back because they have to pay the top corporate rate on it. we need to slash that down so that trillion dollars comes back. we did it in 2004 -- >> but the question is, again, you're sitting on so much capital. why do you need additional relief from the government? can you understand people asking that? >> well, what you have to do is look at your return on investment. and the government makes it very, very expensive because of the regulations and because of the taxation to have a reasonable rate of return. you get a risk capital, you want to have a reasonable chance to make a profit on it. so, they're sitting on it, you're right. they are sitting on it because they don't believe under this climate that they can be successful and profitable. >> i've just got a minute left. i want to pin you down on a couple issues, if i can. one is education. this is something you wrote in "it takes a family" back in 2005 about public education versus home-schooling. it caught my eye. "it's amazing that so many kids turn out to be fairly normal,
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considering the weird socialization they get in public schools. in a home-school, by contrast, children interact in a rich and complex way with adults and children of other ages all the time." you want to be president of the united states. public education's one of the foundational parts of our country, and yet you say that weird socialization is kids being in school with kids their same age? how is that weird socialization? >> where else in america outside of school do kids go to a place where they sit with people basically the same age, same socioeconomic group for a defined period of time? that's not what life is like. you're dealing with a bunch of different people and i think the one-room schoolhouse was an example of interaction. you had sensitivity. i see it in my own family and other children who deal with children of different ages, respect for elders. what i'm saying is that we need to transform public education to reflect more of what the dynamism is in the public sector, and that includes a whole way of infusing parents into the system, a dynamism of having people not stuck in classrooms, sort of the old
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factory model of how we educate people. >> so, you'd fundamentally overhaul public education and how it's done, how they congregate in schools? >> first off, i would say it's not the federal government's job to overhaul public education. i would talk about transformation, but it should be left to the states and localities to do that. >> one more question on abortion, an issue you care deeply about it. i want to be clear on this. do you believe there should be legal exceptions for rape and incest when it comes to abortion? >> i believe that life begins at conception and that that life should be guaranteed under the constitution. that is a person, in my opinion -- >> even in a case of rape or incest, that would be taking a life? >> that would be taking a life, and i believe that any doctor who performs an abortion -- i would advocate that any doctor that performs an abortion should be criminally charged for doing so. i have never supported criminalization of abortions for mothers, but i do for people who perform them. i believe life is sacred. it's one of those things in the declaration of independence. we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights.
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one is life and i believe that life should be protected at the moment it is a human life, at conception it's alive, it's a human life and it's a person under the constitution. >> we'll leave it there. senator santorum, thank you for sharing your views. >> thank you, david. coming up, reaction from our roundtable and what you heard from white house hopeful rick santorum. plus, we'll break down the rest of the republican field. a lot of movement this week as newt gingrich's campaign suffered a big blow. is it the end of the road for him? also, reaction from top democrats until the house calling on congressman weiner to resign. our roundtable coming up. democratic mayor of atlanta, kasim reed, republican strategist mike murphy. also joining us, msnbc's richard wolffe and the "wall street journal's" kim strassel. look, every day we're using more and more energy. the world needs more energy. where's it going to come from? ♪
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we are back with our roundtable. columnist for the "wall street journal," kim strassel, author of the book "revival 2.0: how
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the obama white house is making its political comeback," richard wolffe, democratic mayor of atlanta, kasim reed, and republican strategist and "time" magazine columnist mike murphy. welcome to all of you. mayor reed, i was reminded on twitter this morning, it was your birthday, was it not, on friday? happy birthday. >> thank you. >> glad to have you come up here and spend the birthday weekend on "meet the press." thanks so much. mike murphy, let me start with you. rick santorum, he's in it to win it. i think you could say he positions himself as the one true conservative here with some experience is. he for real? >> well, as he pointed out, he was governor of a big, blue, hard-to-win state for republicans -- governor, senator of that state. on the other hand, not as famous. a lot of his story is wases, you know, did this, did that. there is social concern and there is room for that in the iowa caucus. it's hard to see the path for nomination for him. >> mayor reed, the other story is congressman anthony weiner and you heard from congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, you
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know, there's only so much we can do here to push him out of office. he's hanging in. how much is this distracting democrats of doing the real business of fixing the economy, which is going to weigh so heavily? >> it's very bad for democrats. i believe the congressman should resign so we can move on. the fact of the matter is democrats were doing very well on the medicare conversation. paul ryan had really given the democrats a great deal of momentum. they had a good win in new york. and now who's talking about that at all? so, i think that we need to move on. i think he's been a great public servant, but we have -- the stakes are just too high. we need to be talking about jobs, jobs, jobs. that's not happening right now. we're having a conversation about the congressman. >> kim strassel, it is an unusual leave of absence. if there's a way to sort of keep the conversation going, it is to keep the conversation going. >> well, and this is a remarkable thing you're seeing across the board, this trend of politicians who do not resign when they have scandals, and it's on both sides of the board it was interesting. one of the people who came out and has given the most sort of aid and comfort to mr. weiner was charlie rangel who last
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year, of course, refused to resign, too, and nancy pelosi had asked him to do that. so, this has been a problem for both parties, but it is a distraction, and the longer it goes on, the harder it is for democrats. >> richard wolffe, our banner here, congressman weiner's scandal. coming up with something that benign has not been easy in the course of this conversation with congressman weiner -- >> congratulations. >> yeah, but i mean, but the point is that here is somebody who's such a strong liberal voice in the caucus. >> yep. >> so, that would be a big loss. but is there any sense in the white house, outside the white house, that he can be saved? >> well, not beloved in the caucus. strong voice, but no allies. and outside the caucus, progressives love him. he was an effective advocate for their causes, not least on cable tv. the question is, can he be that kind of advocate moving forward? what happens to his ambitions? that's all gone. and is survival enough? he's not the chairman of a committee. he hasn't got any great legislative records that he can be proud of. how effective can you be when you have such a great level of embarrassment out there? >> just, you know, he's one of these guys who looks like he's going to hang on to the dear end, even though leadership is
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trying to push him out, but there's a redistricting eraser. they've got to pick somebody to throw overboard. they'll have a nice meeting. he'll be in therapy and they'll have a meeting and he'll volunteer, whether he wants to or not. >> let me talk about newt gingrich, who had 16 members of his team resigning. he came out on friday and said we're going to start anew in los angeles. this is something he said that really caught my eye. >> let me just say that there is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consultant community and the kind of campaign i want to run. now, we'll find out over the next year who's right. >> as a consultant -- >> yeah. >> -- what say you? >> oh, he's taking on the overpriced mafia right now. you know, there's a little truth in that. it always should have been a newtish campaign from the beginning. i mean, these advisers who left
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are all shocked newt's a nontraditional candidate. on the other hand when i talked about this last time on the show, i said watching newt's campaign was like watching maneuvers of the belgian navy, not interesting and that's not changed. i think he'll have a comeback now because he'll run the campaign he's always wanted to run, which is show up at the debates, be a little provocative, not get nominated, not win any states, but he'll get the campaign he wants. >> kim strassel, look at our corkboard here, which we show week in and week out, who's in and who's still on the fence. here's who you have who are in, at least for now. we talked about senator santorum. but it's the on-the-fence crowd as well that's pretty interesting. that's where the action is. huntsman, palin. giuliani was up in new hampshire taking on mitt romney, michele bachmann and now rick perry, who may fill some of that space that gingrich occupied because some of the advisers from gingrich could go to him. how do you see it? >> i think what everyone's missed here is there is so much conversation about who can beat president obama next year, that
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what has been missed a little bit is that conservatives and grassroots activists out there, you've got to look at the history of the republican party over the past ten years, which has been very bad indeed. you know, they lost their way over spending, they were kicked out. they won last year, but mostly because they were a choice, not necessarily because of what they offered. conservatives are looking for a leader, and that's why you have such an unsettled field. they want someone who's going to lead the party for the next decade or beyond with ideas, and you're seeing some of the candidates now step up for that. a big week for tim pawlenty, for instance, came out with a big pro growth strategy, saying we're not just going to talk about what we're cutting and spending. we're not just going to talk about bad news. we're going to talk about what we're going to do for the future. that's going to resonate with people. >> how do they see it inside the white house, richard? >> well, obviously, the economy's key here, but they think this is a weak republican field that doesn't have a great platform to talk about the economy. mitt romney has this record of
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cutting jobs, out-sourcing and that kind of management mentality, and his record as governor -- you heard from debbie wasserman schultz, they think the records of pawlenty, coming out with a deficit at the end of his term -- these guys do not have a great economic background. they have an opening on the economy. they're not delusional on that, but they think the field is so flawed on the other side that when it comes down to a choice, not the referendum on the president, as these things come in to play, it's going to be more like the end of 2004, where people were unhappy with bush but still didn't want to hire john kerry. >> mayor reed, you're out there on the front lines as mayor of a big southern city in atlanta, and "the economist" magazine and this headline has got to resonate with you, as you look at it. here's barack obama, the president, looming large over what a lot of people think is a small republican field. and yet, the headline is, "and yet, i could still lose." i'll tell the audience, unemployment in atlanta 9.7%, well above the national average. for the state of georgia, 9.9%. african-american unemployment nationally over 16%. the president is vulnerable. >> yeah. i agree that he's vulnerable, but i think the argument he's
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going to make is direction. people need to remember that right now we're not spending $750 million, or the president isn't spending money communicating his message. he needs to stay out there, stay in the fight. he'll be in north carolina next week. and he needs to constantly communicate. the area that i believe that the president really needs to grow, and i think he is growing, is the level of empathy. the fact of the matter is this is tough. it's going to be a tough campaign, but he's got to get out there and he's got to constantly let folks know that he genuinely cares about how much they're hurting and he's got to lay out in a concrete fashion every single thing that he's done. he's got to constantly talk about what he did to save the automobile industry. i mean, i can't believe this story is going by like it is. gm and chrysler are coming out of it, having strong performance. there were a million jobs on the
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line before the president took extraordinary action. he's got to talk about that more. he's got to talk about it everywhere he goes. the good thing about this president is he doesn't get too high, he doesn't get too low. if you look at this program a few weeks ago, after bin laden was killed, everybody was talking about who's running against him. then the job report came out, and then all of a sudden, mitt romney's ahead for god sakes. >> you framed this in your "time" magazine column in an interesting way, which is the economy, of course, is the vulnerability, the ace up the sleeve, as you wrote, is demographics. this is part of what you wrote in the magazine. "while the weak economy is one huge force driving tight obama versus romney poll numbers, there is a second force in play that could be equally unsettled. the 2012 election is shaping up as a battle between economics and demographics. the economy is threatening the end of the president's political career. the demographics of changing america might just re-elect him." 43% growth in the hispanic population in america. >> right.
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what's happening here is two huge forces are at war. on one hand, if the economy doesn't get better, he's the guy elected to fix the economy, economy's gotten worse, americans fire that kind of president. he's got the biggest problem you could traditionally have in politics. but on the other side, the playing field is changing. when ronald reagan was elected -- the favorite election we all like to talk about, 1980 -- 80% of the people who cast the vote in the presidential election were white and they voted more republican than democrat. in the last election, last presidential election, that was down to 74%. and so, what's happening is the voter groups that republicans do a bad job of getting are growing quickly, particularly latino voters. we're also having trouble with young voters. even in 2010 we lost them by double digits. they become all voters. so, the demographics are pushing in a more democratic, right now, situation, versus the bad economy, and that's the struggle. if republicans don't get into these new demographics, eventually we're going to run out of oxygen. >> richard, you write about this in the book, but the flip side of that is a state like florida, i mean, a state like ohio. the economies may still overwhelm whatever demographic gains have been made for democrats. >> it's a question whether the auto industry/manufacturing revival will be the thing that rescues them in the midwest, upper midwest. but there's a reason why mike's
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analysis is liked in the white house. they agree with him on the demographics, even as us journalists say are you serious about north carolina and georgia? are you really going to play that? they say you've got to get your head out of 2000. there's a demographic growth. young voters, african-americans, latinos, tech jobs. that's where they did well. they've got to restart. if they win, it's because they use this year to get that machinery out. >> very quickly, you know, the fascinating thing is, the industrial midwest, which has been hard -- we haven't carried those states since the '80s -- all republican governors now from pennsylvania through wisconsin, which is the economic pain pushing back. so, they can't get too cocky, either. they're on very thin ice. >> the wisconsin governor may have lifted the spirits a lit by overreaching. >> he's still there. we'll do a few minutes with the roundtable when we come back, also look at the "trends and takeaways," what we've said in the last hour, what to look at for the coming week and what impact palin could have on the race, even though she's not in the race. helley. yeah.
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we're back with our "trends and takeaways" segment. the news this hour on this program, chairwoman of the dnc, debbie wasserman schultz, and other top officials of the democratic party calling for congressman anthony weiner to resign but acknowledging it may not happen. he says he's only going out on leave. this is what she said. what is it you can do? i mean, he's obviously not listening to the admonitions of his colleagues. >> at the end of the day, a member of congress makes their own decision, and that's certainly going to be up to anthony weiner, but we -- >> up to anthony weiner. he's only going into treatment right now. this is a story that should go on. we have something that's special just to us here at "meet the press," our political tracker, which is an aggregate of the top sites for politics on the internet to see what are the
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trending stories right now, and you can see anthony weiner is number one and continues to gain traction, the palin e-mails as well and the capture of fazul abdullah mohammed having been killed. the weiner story is still an open-ended question. >> it's an embarrassment. it's got to go away. he obviously wants to hang on. you know there was that ethical, moral argument that the democrats made very successfully in 2006. i don't know that it's going to be determinative when it comes down to next year's election, but they need to take it off the table, and that's why you're seeing wasserman schultz say resign, but she's uncomfortable dealing with it. she wasn't faking that. >> kim strassel, let's talk about the other news from the political tracker, the palin e-mails. it took over 1,000 days to get the boxes of e-mails finally released. reporters are still going through them. what have we actually learned? >> nothing! 1,000 days of waiting, restless anticipation -- >> that we didn't already know. >> and it was a great big
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nothing burger. i think it is interesting because it says if mrs. palin decides to make a run for the race, it shows the obsession the press has on her and how difficult that will be for her running -- >> and something she's been sensitive about almost from the beginning. >> exactly. >> mayor reed, on our facebook page as well, feedback from our debate with the chairs of the parties. "i think they both need to remove the shroud of their parties' doctrine and look through the eyes of common american citizens. we're struggling out here while they continue to play "king of the hill" games." it is interesting how much of a lack of confidence is there outside of washington on what washington is doing? >> it's extremely high because we can't get a deal done on critical issues such as the debt ceiling and job creation. and folks at home, they completely get it and they're very frustrated about it, and i think just as the democrats paid a high price, republicans are going to pay a very high price for not focusing on job creation. >> all right. we're going to leave it there. also, the big thing coming up this week is